Friday, April 3, 2015

Tiny House Living: Ideas for Building & Living Well in Less than 400 Square Feet

Tiny House Living: Ideas for Building & Living Well in Less than 400 Square FeetTiny House Living: Ideas for Building & Living Well in Less than 400 Square Feet by Ryan Mitchell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My wife and I raised our kids (technically, we're still raising one, but he only has a year left at home . . . hopefully) in a small home. Not tiny like the houses in this book, but 1200 feet of finished space for six (sometimes seven, when my brother lived with us for several months). To be fair, we have an unfinished basement, as well, but a lot of people probably think we're crazy for having raised four children in such a small house.

We are crazy, but not because of that. Our house has been adequate to our needs. Not ostentatious, and awfully crowded when we have large groups to our place (I think we packed over 30 people in our living room one time). But it works for us.

So I saw this at the local library (when I was picking up this book, which I had on hold) and was drawn in by the cover. Yeah, I'm a sucker. I've been sort of following-ish this whole tiny house "movement" and have been interested particularly in how to best utilize space. I figure if a couple can do it on an under-400-square-foot plan, we could do it in our relative mcmansion of 1200 square feet.

The book is full of ideas on how to best utilize space, but it's a lot more than that. I found myself a little jealous that I hadn't encountered this concept in my younger days, before buying a house. I could totally see us living in a tiny house like the ones pictured in the book, though we would have had to have bought a second one for the kids.

The thing is, the author gets more than a little pedantic about the whole philosophy here. Yes, there are some cool nuggets harking back to the early '90's simple living movement, but this book makes the same mistake that Luhrs' book makes - talking down to the audience. The fact of the matter is that those to whom the book would appeal don't really stand for condescension, being strong-minded, independent, and dare I say, quirky people?

There's not much in the way of nuts and bolts here, either. It's really a meditation on what it means to "live tiny," which has it's place. But all I really wanted was to find the best place to stuff my shoes.

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